Quality and Customer Value

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Creating Customer Value & Trust
We are leveraging on a global framework in collaboration with all related Bridgestone entities and stakeholders to proactively identify, prioritize and address customer quality issues in keeping with the intentions of our founder to the Group’s Mission of “Serving Society with Superior Quality”

Quality is essential to achieve a sustainable society and provide people worldwide with safe and comfortable living through attractive, high-quality products, services and solutions and embodies the “Bridgestone E8 Commitment.” The Bridgestone Group established the Quality Mission Statement to engage every employee in contributing to building these high-quality products, services and solutions that exceed customer’s expectations through innovation and Kaizen (continuous improvement).

The Quality Mission Statement enables the future direction of the Group and its leadership, based on the spirit of its founder Shojiro Ishibashi, by advancing the Group’s proud heritage of quality and commitment to continuous improvement. Shojiro Ishibashi instilled these values in Bridgestone’s DNA.

Through employee engagement with continuous improvement and innovation, the Group strives to apply the principles of excellence to achieve superior quality throughout the entire value chain, across all businesses and globally.

The Group puts the safety of its customers and employees first and endeavors to deliver products, services and solutions with perfect quality.

Refined version of the Bridgestone Safety Mission Statement

The Group’s decision to position quality at the heart of its business began with the founder Shojiro Ishibashi’s belief that providing quality in business and products is the only way to serve society and sustain business success. Early in the 1960’s, under the guidance of the founder, Bridgestone Corporation launched a restructuring plan based on Deming principles to enhance overall management systems with a primary focus on quality.

The hand-drawn image below, representing the new concept enhancing the importance of quality in all the aspects of the business, was used by Kanichiro Ishibashi (appointed as president in 1963) when he activated the restructuring plan in 1968.

In 1968, Bridgestone Corporation earned global recognition for their commitment to total quality management by receiving the prestigious Deming Prize for excellence in quality management. The culture of total quality management (TQM) is rooted in this success achieved fifty years ago. Since that time, society and the Group have undergone considerable changes, but the Group has remained firmly committed to a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

Quality is led by the quality department, but is a cross-functional responsibility. Today, for the Group, quality cannot be achieved by just one departmental function and it is not even just product requirements. Quality is an outcome of thoughtful planning and execution, and it is the underlying value of its businesses.

The whole Group is always looking for ways to strengthen its culture of quality:

  • The Quality Mission Statement has been deployed to the entire organization globally involving all levels from top executives to newly hired staff. Awareness programs and e-learnings have been carried out to underline the active role that everyone within the corporation must play for the Group to achieve its mission to create customer value and trust.
  • Great importance is also given to quality education across the organization. Specific training modules are delivered to increase competencies on quality tools and capabilities. Lean Six Sigma program or statistical quality control (SQC) are also implemented in the strategic business units (SBUs).
  • As a company, the Group also looks at ways to manage risks along the value chain. One important activity is related to the manufacturing process, where the Group developed a set of standardized quality requirements (called Process Quality Assurance Reference List: PQARL) as a result of global best practices to prevent risks and deliver the highest quality tire products and services. In 2020, the Group expanded the scope of these PQARL requirements to include diversified products, bicycles, sporting goods and internal manufacturing business categories. In 2021, the Group worked to further improve its competence on quality in these categories.

Goals and KPIs

To achieve its quality and customer value mission, the Group established goals, including:

  • Achieving ISO 9001 quality management system certification at all of our group's manufacturing sites.
  • Monitoring quality-related items of environmental, social and governance (ESG) evaluations using the industry average as a benchmark and increasing transparency by enhancing information disclosure.

To achieve the above goal, the Group is promoting the dissemination of the Quality Mission Statement to all employees globally and in each region. The Group is working on a quality assurance system to produce high-quality products that are friendly to the global environment and have little waste in the production process of each business site.

Quality assurance system

Alignment with external quality management systems

The Group requires all manufacturing locations in which the Group has 50% or more share ratio to achieve and maintain ISO 9001 quality management system certification. As of February 1, 2023, 115 sites are targeted for ISO 9001 certification, and 115 sites are certified (Certification acquisition rate: 100%).
In addition, the Group embraces both internal and external audits and certifications such as IATF 16949 and VDA 6.1 so that the Group can ensure superior quality our customers demand.

Global quality governance

The Group has established the Global CQO Organization, which is composed of the Global Chief Quality Officer (Global CQO) and CQOs in all SBUs. Together, they are responsible for ensuring product, service and solution quality in their markets. The CQOs aim to guide and support the organization by promoting quality innovation and continuous improvement activities, that produce safe, high-performing products that deliver customer value and trust.

In 2017, the Group established the Global Quality Management Committee (GQMC) to strengthen global governance around the deployment of its quality mission and initiatives in each SBU.

The GQMC works as an effective committee to set the global quality direction and strategy, identifies global quality challenges, and defines solutions leveraging global expertise and resources. In addition, the Group has established an auditing framework to continuously assess the effectiveness of systems and processes to deliver the highest quality of products, services and solutions to its customers.

Global CQO Organization

Group Global CQO Origanization
  1. GHO: Global Head Office
  2. GBS: Global Business Support
  3. SBU: Strategic Business Unit

Quality assurance across the value chain

Entire value chain

Entire value chain

The Group is committed to creating customer value and trust by continuously enhancing the quality of products and services across the entire value chain based on the Quality Mission Statement principles.

Quality assurance in the development process

To ensure the quality of design and development, the Group standardizes and continuously enhances its processes at the global level in all technology centers

The Group leverages the structure and collaboration outlined in the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process, which includes critical tasks from concept approval through production. The aim is to create a product quality plan for developing and manufacturing products that meets the customer requirements.

For quality assurance in the development process, the aim is to successfully deliver and continuously identify opportunities to improve and optimize development processes of all product development groups. The scope covers the entire development process, including production process and manufacturing technology.

In all SBUs at the global level, development processes are structured using a gate-based approach. At each gate, all specified criteria must be met to assure achievement of development targets (including risk analysis) and final product safety and quality.

Quality assurance in raw materials procurement

The Group procures raw materials and outsourced products from a wide range of suppliers. To maintain and continuously enhance quality assurance throughout the value chain, the Group applies the highest quality standards to all suppliers and business partners (including Tier-N) by requesting their compliance to the purchase contract and its Global Sustainable Procurement Policy.The Group also established Group-wide approval criteria for raw materials and outsourced products to ensure superior quality.

Each SBU currently holds annual procurement policy briefings related to quality assurance for Tier 1 suppliers. Additionally, in case any quality issues are found in any of the suppliers, the company provides them guidance for improvement several times per year.

The Group is proud of the relationships it has built with its suppliers, but it is also careful to continuously monitor the quality of goods received, conduct supplier audits and pursue other initiatives to ensure suppliers maintain solid quality assurance systems and supply products that consistently meet its quality requirements.

For more details, see “Procurement.”

Quality assurance in outsourcing

The Global Business Support and SBUs have been strengthening cooperation on outsourcing products to improve global quality assurance.

At the global level, the Group is continuously working with its partners and suppliers to enhance the overall quality of outsourced products and deliver superior quality to customers. This includes providing training and other supplier development instilling higher quality standards and criteria that keep focusing on assuring early detection of any potential issue.

Quality assurance in manufacturing

The Group strives to continuously improve the quality of global manufacturing processes by introducing innovative technologies to consistently create industry leading products and meet growing customer expectations.

The Group seeks to identify potential quality risks at its production plants and proactively implements preventive actions using failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) quality assurance methods and focusing on Critical to Quality (CTQ) inputs.

The Group has also defined a set of global quality assurance requirements for each process and conducts regular assessments to identify the required investments needed to meet these requirements.

Furthermore, the Group has established a system to share best practices and continuous improvement activities at the global level, to ensure that all facilities are aligned on the state-of-the-art in manufacturing processes.

Promotion of prevention activities

The Group promotes the application of Risk-based thinking at all levels of the business based on ISO standards applied across the value chain (product strategy, development, procurement, manufacturing, distribution, sales, and service).
Especially during development and production, the Group carries out advanced product quality planning (APQP), performs design failure mode and effect analysis (D-FMEA) and process failure mode and effects analysis (P-FMEA) and conducts regular design reviews by cross functional teams at each stage of the process.

The Group also conducts continuous monitoring of manufacturing process quality as well as final product evaluation in order to meet regulatory and customer requirements as well as our internal standard requirements.

In addition, the Group continuously monitors the quality KPIs in each SBU to trigger actions at an early stage and keeps exchanging best practices and new learnings among all locations to prevent recurrence.

Market initiatives

VOC/VOB management

As part of the quest to transform from a “product out” to a “market in” business model, the Group has sought to better utilize the Voice of Customers (VOC) and Voice of Business Partners (VOB) and incorporate this management system into the drive to increase customer value. The Group manages the VOC/VOB of each market to suit local conditions and provide the optimal products, services and solutions to its customers.

In Japan, the customer summary system collects VOC from the Customer Communication Center and other relevant departments and shares that information to help improve the quality of Bridgestone products and services.
Bridgestone Americas (BSAM) and Bridgestone Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (BSEMIA) have used commercial market segmentation surveys and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) to help ascertain the degree of consumer satisfaction with tire patterns and devise future product plans. Specific customer value indicators (CVI) have also proved to be useful practical indicators. In the Asia Pacific region, Bridgestone conducts periodic market research on competing products to aid new product development.

The Group is determined to continue building a solution-driven business model and strengthening VOC/VOB management, with the firm belief that these activities will help improve product, service and solution quality and create added value for customers.

Product / service monitoring

Utilization of market quality information

The Group continuously collects and analyzes data related to the markets (including failures and incidents) for all its businesses around the world.

The Group’s tires are driven on roads worldwide, so the Group is careful to collect data from any available source and promptly share the information collected and the results of tire analysis with all relevant departments to help improve tire quality.

For example, in cases of passenger car tire wear, the Group proactively collects information by visiting markets, meeting with distributors, analyzing actual tires, and inspecting used tires. It also puts in place systems to analyze trends and promptly identify potential concerns, making it possible to implement actions before there are any issues in the market. The Group has promoted early detection of potential problems requiring global and rapid market action and created a rapid and accurate risk management system designed to facilitate accurate judgments and market action.

Emergent response procedure

As part of the Global Quality Governance, the Group utilizes a CQO system implemented at the global level. The CQO system allows each SBU to make rapid judgments based on market information. In addition, each SBU uses a system for statistically analyzing and periodically evaluating market information, in order to identify potential risks and investigate causes in each case. Based on the results, each SBU follows its own detailed procedure and implements the appropriate market response in accordance with the Bridgestone standards and the applicable local regulations.

The Group also shares the information globally and strives to prevent recurrence within the Group.

The Group will continue to nurture a culture focused on safety and quality, so that it can offer consumers the highest quality products that are also safe and reliable.

Product recall information

In case of a product recall, the Group notifies government agencies and discloses information at the following local Bridgestone websites:

Japan (in Japanese)

United States

China (in Chinese)

In Japan, Bridgestone monitors the state of quality in the market as well as collects and analyzes market quality information and VOCs. The company also implements a PDCA approach for early resolution and implementing improvements in accordance with its quality manuals and standards. At other SBUs, quality defects and customer complaints are collected and analyzed. In particular, safety issues are analyzed in detail in accordance with local regulations and Bridgestone standards.

Product safety objectives/goals

The Group aims to innovate for sustainable mobility using advanced technologies and solutions. The Group also aims to provide products and services that support safe and secure movement through the evolution of mobility. To these ends, the Group has implemented a robust Quality Management System at all SBUs and across the value chain. Delivering safe products and services that meet customer expectations is at the top of our priorities.

The Group will continue to promote its unique solutions business platform "Bridgestone T&DPaaS (Bridgestone Tire and Diversified Products as a Solution)" and contribute to the evolving mobility society.

New quality assurance system Quality 4.0

As a part of the Group’s Quality Assurance System evolution, the Group is now promoting Prediction Technology based on big data, which leads to higher value for customers and more efficient internal processes. This technology provides useful insights to activate actions at an early stage, improves upstream processes by reducing variations, and predicts and enhances the performance of products and solutions. By collecting market data and customer feedback, and applying prediction technology, the Group can manage such data and keep co-creating higher value for customers and wider society.

Human resource development to promote quality

Passing on manufacturing technology and tradition

The Group believes it is critical to pass on its traditional commitment to quality and high level of acquired skill to the next generations. The Group provides quality and product safety trainings to all employees utilizing various tools and platforms (e.g., e-learning, lecture programs). For operators and inspectors who require specific knowledge and techniques for their work, the Group conducts training programs that include quality control.

Since implementing the Quality Mission Statement in 2016, the Group has been conducting quality-related activities based on the Statement for all Group employees. At Bridgestone Japan, BSAM and BSEMIA, annual CSR trainings that include quality management and product safety, are also conducted through e-learning. For new employees, quality education that includes the Quality Mission Statement are provided immediately after they join the company. These activities are constantly updated and are being conducted for all employees. These activities and best practices are also shared with other operations to raise the caliber of quality-related activities across the Group.

Moving forward, the Group intends to continue developing human resources across the Group to help ensure customers receive the highest quality products, services and solutions.

Quality assurance for solutions

Quality activities for the solutions business

The Group’s global commitment to quality is instrumental in supporting the journey toward its vision of becoming a sustainable solutions company that provides social and customer value. This commitment is clearly stated in the Group's Mid-Long Term Business Strategy and demonstrated by its efforts to co-create value with customers, partners and society overall.

In recent years, the Group's quality activities for its solutions business have become increasingly important. Beginning in 2017 in collaboration with the Pilbara Mining Solution Center in Australia, the Group structured a quality management system for the solutions service network. More recently, in 2019, the acquisition of Webfleet Solutions provided a framework for the global quality management system to expand and accelerate the quality activities on new business domains, including mergers and acquisitions.

Solution Business Management Guideline to realize Bridgestone T&DPaaS

The Group is leveraging its Solution Business Management Guideline developed in 2020 and supporting its journey to become a sustainable solutions company by promoting Bridgestone Tires and Diversified Products as a Solution (Bridgestone T&DPaaS). The guidelines are helping establish strong quality management systems in each SBU as the Group aims to continuously enhance the value it delivers to customers and society in alignment with its strategy.

TQM activity

Bridgestone’s DNA, TQM activity

The Group’s long-standing Total Quality Management (TQM) activities have been incorporated into its culture and growth for over 50 years. Employees from all over the world, who have passed rigorous regional qualifiers, have gathered at a global TQM conference for sharing best practices every year since 2010.

In 2021 and 2022, under the influence of COVID-19, the group global TQM conference was held in the form of filming presentation examples at each business site and distributing them to all employees. 16 excellent cases selected as best practices from all cases submitted from all over the world are shared.

Global TQM conference in 2019 in Nashville, U.S.